2012 NFL Mock Draft: Predicting Andrew Luck #1 & the Rest of the Top 10

Daniel BrommerCorrespondent IMay 3, 2011

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Predicting Andrew Luck #1 & the Rest of the Top 10

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates after he threw a 38-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Virginai Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miam
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Now that the 2011 NFL Draft is over, it's time to take a look at how the 2012 draft might shape up, more specifically; the top 10. It's a no brainer that Andrew Luck would have gone No. 1 in this year's draft had he came out, but instead that honor went to Cam Newton.

    The thing about Luck is that he won't have the Jake Locker tag thrown on him. He's a pure quarterback who will for sure be the top pick in next year's draft. I imagine the usual teams will be towards the top: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Arizona, Cleveland, etc. You know who they are.

    Besides Luck, there will be another crop of very talented young men who will look to garner top 10 honors.

10. Brandon Jenkins: Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Florida State

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    NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 11:  Offensive lineman Donald Stephenson #59 of the Oklahoma Sooners grabs the facemask of Brandon Jenkins #49 of the Florida State Seminoles at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Norman, Oklahoma.  (P
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Brandon Jenkins had a monster sophomore season that resulted in 14 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss and 67 tackles. He is 6'3" 240 pounds with a motor that doesn't stop. Now, he won't transition into being an end in the NFL unless he puts on some bulk, but he's perfect for a 3-4 outside linebacker position.

    Jenkins reminds me of Von Miller, key word is "reminds." He's not as fast or as strong, but we've only seen one breakout year by him.

    With a revamped defense much to his credit, Jenkins numbers can be expected to increase along with his production which would make him an easy pick for any team in the top 10.

9. Jared Crick: Defensive Tackle, Nebraska

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 13: Jared Crick #94 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers wraps up Angus Quigley #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated Kansas 20-3. (Photo by Eric Francis
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    OK so this might come as a surprise, but do you remember the last Nebraska defensive tackle who stayed for his senior season? That same guy just won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award, while being arguably the best defensive tackle in the league.

    Jared Crick certainly isn't as good as Mr. Suh, but he has all of the same intangibles. He's big at 6'6" 285 lbs. He's long and strong and has a mean streak to go along with it.

    In each of the past two seasons, he has had 70 tackles and 9-plus sacks in each year. He's a monster in the middle and he proved he could be great without Suh last season.

    Crick will have another great year and will open more eyes doing it against the huge offensive linemen in the Big Ten. He deserves to be a top 10 pick.

8. Matt Barkley: Quarterback, USC

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    PASADENA, CA - DECEMBER 04:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans drops back to pass against the UCLA Bruins during the first half at the Rose Bowl on December 4, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Matt Barkley is entering his third year in college football and he's started every year. He's a gamer, plain and simple, and while he won't get a chance to play in the National Championship, or a BCS bowl for that matter, he will still be in the national spotlight.

    While he struggled during his true freshman season, he improved a lot during his sophomore season. He completed 62 percent of his passes, which will only get better this year.

    He threw 26 touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions and had he played against Notre Dame, he would have had over 3,000 yards passing.

    He's not the tallest guy in the world at 6'2" but he does have NFL size matched with an NFL arm.

    It's no surprise, he belongs in the top 10.

7. Cliff Harris: Cornerback, Oregon

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Cliff Harris #13 of the Oregon Ducks reacts during their game against the Auburn Tigers during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jo
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Cliff Harris will be next year's Patrick Peterson, although he won't be bringing in as much hype. The Oregon corner had a breakout year in 2010 with six interceptions, including one that went to the house against Tennessee for 76 yards.

    He has ideal cover corner size at 5'11" 180 lbs, but will need to bulk up. Harris played great in the National Championship game, even though he did not have a single tackle, he did have an interception, but it was his coverage that was most impressive.

    Oregon's stout defense will only give room for more plays to be made by Harris and the Oregon secondary and Harris will go on to be a top 10 pick.

6. Trent Richardson: Running Back, Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide is tackled by Nick Fairly #90 of the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    For those that compare Trent Richardson to former teammate and newest Saint Mark Ingram, they fail to give Richardson the credit he deserves.

    He's faster than Ingram, stronger, more elusive and gives teams a home run threat instead of an "inside the tackles" type of running back.

    Richardson will have the backfield to himself this year and he should have a monster season barring injury. Last season as Ingram's backup, he had 700 yards rushing with a 6.3 yards per carry average.

    Richardson is also a workout warrior which will only go further for him with NFL scouts.

    Richardson is a lock for a top 10 pick.

5. Jonathan Martin: Tackle, Stanford

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    PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Jonathan Martin #55 and Richard Sherman #9 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrate after they beat the Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    This is the guy that protects Andrew Luck's blindside. Jonathan Martin will be under the microscope all season long and to his credit, he will still be impressing every scout that will be at all of Stanford's games.

    He's got great size at 6'6" 310 pounds and great feat to go along with it, but the system is also going to help him a lot. Being in a pass first, run second system shows he can defend against pass rushers, but he can also run block. 

    If Martin can keep Luck safe, which there is really no doubt about it, he will be a top 10 pick in the 2012 draft.

4. Dont'a Hightower: Linebacker, Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Dont'a Hightower #30 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Ole Miss Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Two words. Rolando McClain. Dont'a Hightower has everything McClain had and then some. He's bigger at 6'4" 260, and faster. Hightower was having an amazing season in 2009, before a torn ACL derailed his year.

    Last season, he compiled 70 tackles, which is a lot in Alabama's fierce defense. Hightower has the ideal size to play middle linebacker in the NFL, but he's versatile enough to play any linebacker position.

    Hightower will get compared to McClain a lot this year, but is that a bad thing? McClain had a great rookie season and was a top 10 pick, don't expect any less for Hightower.

3. Matt Kalil: Tackle, USC

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    LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 29:  Matt Kalil #75 of the USC Trojans looks on against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on November 29, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 38-3.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
    Jeff Golden/Getty Images

    Matt Kalil is the younger brother of Carolina offensive lineman and former Trojan, Ryan Kalil, but he's much bigger. Matt stands 6'7" and weighs 300 pounds, a perfect fit for a left tackle in the NFL.

    Add in the fact that his former teammate Tyron Smith was picked ninth in this year's draft, wouldn't it make Kalil look better because he was left tackle and Smith was on the right?

    Either way, his size and athleticism is too good to go unnoticed and he will be protecting Matt Barkley's blindside, something he does very well.

2. Quinton Coples: Defensive End, North Carolina

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quinton Coples #90 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Honestly, if Andrew Luck wasn't in this draft, Coples would be the No. 1 pick. He's huge at 6'6" 275 lbs and has the athleticism of Julius Peppers.

    Coples had 59 tackles last year and 10 sacks. Imagine what he would have done if Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn were eligible.

    He has great speed, great technique, great size, well he just has great everything and he's a dream end for any NFL head coach.

    Coples won't fall further than No. 5 in next year's draft, he's simply too good.

1. Andrew Luck: Quarterback, Stanford

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates as he walks off the field after Stanford won 40-12 against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida.
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    It has to be Luck, after all that's what the title implies. Luck will go No. 1 next year, as he would have this year, but he will be bringing in some extra accolades with him. Possibly the Heisman, possibly a National Championship. Who knows?

    Nothing is going to prevent this guy from going No. 1 in next year's draft. He's a pure pocket passer with mobility and his character is off the charts.

    It's hard to imagine him slipping out of the top spot, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see teams lining up to trade for that spot.